• The Pandemic Era Film Industry

    We are living amidst a raging pandemic. Every other service we use daily is taking a toll. When the worldwide lockdown began, many necessary and auxiliary services came to a screeching halt. There were also so many services which could not be termed as necessary but still are called pseudo-necessary by many. Services such as dining-out, a quiet bar after a long workday, and a party with friends by the weekend, everything has got stopped and came to a halt. But there is still an entire industry which is trying hard, despite one the worst hit by the pandemic. Yes, I am writing about the film industry today.


    Since my childhood, I've been watching movies and I call myself a movie buff. Not because I watch a lot of movies, but because I like the idea of going out now and then with friends and family and enjoy a good movie night. And if the movie turns out to be a good one, it makes the idea even more attractive. I like the notion of how we wait for a Friday when we anticipate a good movie to be up for a show at our nearest theatre. But ever since the world got hit by the pandemic, some of us have not even been able to go out even for the most necessary needs, going out to a theatre to watch a movie is a far-fetched dream. Hence, the effect the pandemic has to date on the film industry is worth millions.


    When the first case of coronavirus confirmed in Wuhan, the theatres began shutting all around the world. A few weeks during the end-January and early-February rake big business for the film industry around the world because of the Chinese New Year. During these weekends, people are every year treated with good movies and the producers, therefore, get treated well too by good footfall at the theatres. But since early this year only, there has been none of this and the industry has taken a hard hit around the world.


    After seeing China closing the doors of its theatres, countries such as Italy, Singapore, and France also closed its theatres. During mid-March, 2020, India went into a countrywide lockdown and shut its theatres in entirety. India is one of the worst-hit by the pandemic and its film industry is also taking a toll. It has a booming Hindi Film Industry also known as Bollywood which produces more than 100 films every year. Due to the pandemic, many producers are forced to release their movies on OTT platforms such as Amazon Prime, Hotstar, etc, and because of that, the entire Hindi Film Industry is seeing a domino effect of cancellations.


    As for Hollywood, there has been a total shut down of the theatres since April 2020, and that left the producers no choice except for planning the release of their fils at a later date. There has been a drop of roughly 75% in terms of revenue as compared to the last years. Big budget movies such as Tenet and Wonder Woman have been postponed for release due to the shutdown of theatres worldwide. Very recently, Tom Hanks starrer 'Greyhound' had to be released on Apple TV. Tom Hanks was also contracted by the virus along with stars such as Idris Alba and Bollywood Superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Owing to this situation, film production companies such as Warner Bros, Pixar, and Disney are incurring huge losses and in the process of tackling such losses, they are forced to move to OTT platforms to release their movies as there is a seemingly perpetual shutdown of the theatres currently.


    Not just the movies, there have been so many festivals that had to be canceled because of the strict measures of social distancing put in place due to the pandemic. Coachella 2020 is a major example of how hard the entertainment industry has been hit by the virus that the festival had to be canceled. Also, the Cannes Film Festival, which takes place every year in France had to be canceled due to the pandemic. During its illustrious history, it has only got canceled when the nation was in a state of war. But this year, since more than 10,000 celebrities from different parts of the world were expected to attend the festival, it has been canceled for good owing to the stringent social distancing measures. The Cannes Film Festival is currently being used as a homeless shelter. As for the KPOP sensation BTS, they had to postpone the dates of their North American concerts because of these circumstances.


    It’s already a piece of worldwide news that the Tokyo Olympics 2020 has got canceled and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to reschedule it to a period not later than the summers of 2021.


    I am hopeful that the situation is going to improve soon, but the question here is, will many people now feel safe to watch a film in a packed theatre? I know its fun to watch a movie when it’s a blockbuster, but the way theatres are packed during the screening of a hit film, it could be a feeding fest for the virus. I can only hope that a vaccine comes out to fight the virus so that there could again be mass gatherings (with all precautions, of course) and people could again enjoy the company of their loved ones out of the homes. Not just for the films, but there would be so many things which it would enable us to enjoy outside.